Snap DC

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Last but not least is my favorite image in the whole series. I took this image at the very end of my time shooting sunrise at the National Mall. As you can see I started this week off right outside the Lincoln Memorial, then I went inside, then back to the reflecting pool, and went up the stairs to go to the Lincoln and ended right back inside the Lincoln Memorial. The whole hour I out shooting the sunrise I just walked back and forth between the two landmarks. So instead of coming out with one image, I was able to come out with 5 really cool images that I love. So next time you go out to photograph any location, I hope you keep this series in mind. I think it is a cool example of how many different perspectives you can get if you just keep walking.

By this point the sun was fully out and shining bright inside the Lincoln Memorial. My natural tendencies would lead me to go right but this time I felt the need to go left. I began photographing President Lincoln through the columns but I wasn’t happy with the images that were coming out. I was about to leave when I stopped in the corner of the interior and noticed all the amazing shadows the columns were creating. To be honest, I waited for about 15 minutes for someone to show up. Some kind of foreground element to make this image a little more interesting. The closest thing that I got was the shadow figure on the left hand side. Someone who looked like they were about to come in but for some reason did not. Either way, I still love all the lines and repetition in this image.

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/125th of a second at ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Since I’ll be away this week, I thought it would be kinda cool to pre schedule these blog posts to illustrate the importances of moving your feet while shooting. What I mean is that photographers can get so comfortable when they find one composition that they end up staying in that same exact spot for the entire sunrise, sunset or whatever period of time. To me, there’s little worse than coming home and finding a whole memory card full of the exact same images. I personally feel like I didn’t push myself enough or I could have missed an opportunity. Even something as simple as turning around and seeing what’s going on behind you can even lead to a more interesting image.

So everyday this week there will be a new image but they were all taken within an hour of each other. I would stop at each place for about 10 minutes or so. However long I felt was necessary and then kept it moving. I walked from the edge of the reflecting pool to the center to the other side of the reflecting pool. I would walk up and down the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial steps. And even go back down to the reflecting pool when I saw something cool happening over there. None of the images will be the same but all taken in the same area. I hope that you’ll find inspiration from this and keep your feet moving!

This particular image is one of the very first ones I was happy with this Sunday morning. Despite what you may think it wasn’t taken at the reflecting pool either. It was on the Lincoln Memorial steps. There just happened to be this beautiful puddle right and I stood behind it to capture the Washington Monument. I think my favorite part of this image is the little gap you see in between the trees and the reflection. I think it makes it much more interesting than if it were just a perfectly symmetrical image. The colors ain’t bad either 😉

My camera settings for this image is F11 at 1/40th of a second at ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens handheld.

 

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Thank you all so much for your amazing feedback on Snap DC. I think I check amazon almost everyday just to read the reviews. They make me so happy and I’m so glad everyone is getting so much value out of the book. If you haven’t already, sign up for Snap DC’s newsletter list. I just updated it so that you’ll receive a free photo itinerary for a 1, 3 or 5 day trip to Washington DC. It really is the perfect supplement to the book and it was so much fun to create.

Obviously, the Jefferson memorial and the tidal basin are in the book. Lately, the tidal basin has been my go to place to go shoot. I love the reflections but there’s always something interesting to photograph there. If you look close enough at this image, you can see the bus loads of people visiting the memorial. This was taken around sunset so the memorial is packed with tourists. In the book, I discuss my favorite places to photograph at the tidal basin including the spot where I was standing to take this image. Andrew and I were the only ones there and to be honest, I probably got the better image of the memorial than anyone who was that close to it.

So to find out all the knowledge I have accumulated throughout my years of photographing the Mall and surrounding areas of Washington DC and check out the book and don’t forget to download the itineraries! I’m pretty sure the most frequently asked question I get on social media is, “did I move to the Mall?” The answer is no, but it would be so much easier if I did 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/250th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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I went out to take pictures this past weekend on a whim. No real plans, I didn’t even know if the sunrise was going to be good or not. I just missed shooting. I felt like it had been a while since I had been because the week before I didn’t have a chance to go out at all. So I went out Saturday morning to one of my favorite places in the world, the Lincoln Memorial. The weekends are so fun at the memorial. This may sound weird but its a totally different vibe. There are so many more people who are out enjoying the sunrise with you and since it’s a weekend, they have the time to just sit and enjoy. Of course there are still runners and bikers, but there are just more people in general sitting on the steps and enjoying life.

So with my 70-200mm in hand, I thought I would photograph the memorial instead of the sunrise. The sunrise wasn’t that great anyways…

Looking at this image makes me so happy. Happy because the two girls there are obviously having a great time so early in the morning. At this point I think it was about 6a. But I also like how President Lincoln is behind them sort of watching over them. Usually when I’m out taking pictures I think about photographing in 3’s. 3 points, 3 people, 3 whatevers. So I when I captured this image I liked how that rule of 3’s still applied. The third being President Lincoln.  A little different from the other two, but I still think it works!

Plus their matching outfits make it even better!

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/640th of a second at ISO 800 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

 

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One of my most asked questions I receive is “where is your favorite place to shoot in DC?” My answer is almost always, the Lincoln Memorial. I just say the memorial because it’s such a great starting point. Not only do you have the reflecting pool right in front, but to either side you have the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Memorial. So when you’re not feeling inspired by one, it’s so easy to go to the next. I love how easy and convient the Lincoln Memorial is. It is also a great place to photograph sunrise, mid-day or sunset. You really can’t go wrong!

But my absolute favorite time to photograph the memorial is definietly early morning. Not necessarily sunrise like you may think. I love when the sun has come up over the horizon for a little bit and it’s shining on the president himself. The glow, the shadows, omg everything is so perfect. There really is nothing better.

So if you’re interested in learning more about photographing Washington DC, all my tips and tricks, check my recently published book, Snap DC. All the knowledge and experience I’ve built up over the years, all in one easy to read book.

But if that’s not good enough, I have one last reminder about next Wednesday, July 18th. Geoff Livingston, Focus on the Story International Photo Festival and I will be hosting an evening workshop. We’ll be photographing the sunset at the Reflecting Pool and then practicing some street photography and monument photography at night. It will be a great time! Click here for more info.

Have a great weekend everyone! And a lucky Friday the 13th!

My camera settings for this image is F10 at 1/15th of a second ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

 

All photos available for print and licensing >

There’s always room for firsts and I had my first podcast experience a few weeks ago. Thanks so much to Jason Flakes and Mary Bailey for having me on PhotoStank. I had so much talking about photography, Snap DC and so much more. To be honest, I didn’t want the conversation to end. I was having so much fun. If you’re interested, click here to listen to the episode.

And if you have time, check out the episode’s challenge. I think it’s an interesting one. Use the hashtag #photostankchallenge so I can be sure to see what you have come up with.

Today’s image was taken a couple of weekends ago in Lake Anna, Virginia. It had just stopped raining and was still a bit too cold to go out on the boat for some water fun so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to fly the drone! I love practicing flying as much as I can. I’m still a bit nervous at it but I know the more flying time I get, the better it will be.This birds eye view of the world is such an interesting perspective. And my favorite part of this image is the way that you can see the reflections of the clouds in the water. The trees weren’t looking too bad after the rain either 🙂 I think I’ll be flying my drone a lot more often in the summer. Sunflower fields here I come!

Speaking of flying, my friend Andy just came out with a video about flying drones. If you have one, you should definietly check out this video. I learned so much! Just wish it came out before the trip to Lake Anna so I could have applied some new knowledge I learned.

My camera settings for this image is F2.2 at 1/220th of a second and ISO 100 on my DJI Mavic Pro.